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[greenyes] Examining Room Paper
Alex asks:

>Is examining table paper from a medical clinic recyclable? I've just done a waste assesment at a
clinic and this question came up. They discard it into their trash currently, not into any kind of bio-hazard container. <

It would make great worm bedding. The fact that they currently discard it into their trash rather than treating it as a bio-hazard indicates that they do not consider it to contain infectious levels of pathogens.

In the work done by Binet Payne and her students at Laytonville Middle School in Laytonville, CA, they found that the material taking up the greatest volume in the dumpsters was paper from the elementary classrooms. This was paper that was often contaminated with crayon, paste, finger-painting goop, colored construction paper, and not recyclable in the normal fashion. They worked out a program where the youngsters would go down the hall with a balloon-tired wheelbarrow to collect the paper every week, hauling it out to the shred-shed where the older students shredded it. This shredded paper made great worm bedding, and tests by an independent laboratory showed either no detectable levels of benzene, ethybenzene or lead. Toluene and xylene were found at minimum detection levels which, according to the lab, were insignificant.

Removal of this high-volume material from the waste stream meant that dumpster use was reduced from 1/week to 1/month, resulting in significant savings for waste disposal.

My guess is that similar efficiencies could be achieved by shredding the exam-table paper and using it for worm bedding on the premises. Commercial vermicomposting systems are now available that could handle food wastes in sizable quantities and make use of what is currently costing money to dispose of.

For more information on the vermicomposting program at Laytonville Middle School, see "The Worm Cafe: Mid-scale Vermicomposting of Lunchroom Wastes" by Binet Payne, published by Flower Press, and available at:
Mary Appelhof, Author of "Worms Eat My Garbage"
Flowerfield Enterprises,10332 Shaver Road,Kalamazoo, MI 49024 USA
PLEASE NOTE NEW AREA CODE: PH:269-327-0108 FAX 269-327-7009

"Changing the way the world thinks about garbage"

New issue of WormEzine features composting in your homeschool! Subscribe at:


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